May 11, 1934 El Centro Imperial County California, USA
Jan. 6, 2011 Santa Maria Santa Barbara County California, USA
Rachel Nakako Agawa was the daughter of Matazo and Yoki Furuya. She grew up with three sisters and five brothers while her father was a ranch foreman on the vegetable farms of the Imperial Valley. She is survived by her devoted husband Jim, daughters Debi Hernandez (Andy), Barbie Maddox, sisters Susie Nakamura, Sophie Shimizu, Rose Hawkins, brothers Shoji Furuya, Ray Furuya, Jimmy Furuya, grandsons Cort, Nick and Nolan Maddox and numerous nieces and nephews. Rachel was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers Ichiro and Tom. At the age of 8, Rachel and the rest of her family were relocated to the Poston Internment Camp where Rachel attended elementary school. After camp, they moved to Kerman where Rachel continued her schooling until the family moved to Santa Maria in 1948. She graduated with the Class of 1952 from Santa Maria High School, where she was editor of the school newspaper, "The Breeze." After high school, she attended Merritt College in Berkeley, California for two years. Rachel was married to her husband Jim on November 14th, 1953 in the Christ United Methodist Church in Santa Maria by Reverend Oshita. They began a long and devoted married life in the Santa Maria Valley, surrounded by a close and fun-loving extended family. Rachel's greatest joy was being a wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt. Rachel, Jim and the girls spent many years going to Lake Nacimiento where they had a "cabin" in Dip Creek with the Harrison and Childers families. Rachel loved going there so much that one year they went 49 weekends in a row! Rachel loved boating and pulling skiers, sometimes participating in acrobatic tricks on skis with her friends. After the adventures of Dip Creek ended, they continued their love of Lake Nacimiento at Heritage Ranch, just around the bend in Snake Creek where they enjoyed many more years of fun in the sun. While Nacimiento was her favorite spot, she also traveled with her adventurous husband Jim, her kids and a large entourage of motor homes, family and friends to many other places, often on annual pilgrimages. Places like Mammoth Pool, Lake Powell, and Lopez Lake were all regular destinations. She also traveled to Fiji, Hawaii, Japan, Mexico and Branson as well as taking many cruises. No matter where Rachel was, she was the life of the party. With a quick and contagious laugh and a smile on her face, she brightened the mood of any place she visited. She even brightened the mood of Bob Barker when she was a contestant on the Price is Right. Just as she regularly did with her family and friends, she brought Bob and the whole house down with laughter as she bantered back and forth with Barker on the bidding lineup. In addition to her larger than life personality, Rachel was very talented in arts and crafts, cake decorating, painting, dried flowers, and photography. She was also an avid Bridge player, fantastic cook and of course, a natural entertainer. Socrates once said, "Death may be the greatest of all human blessings." While Rachel was effectively silenced during the last several years of her life, those days were preceded with many years of an incredibly full life, with more good times and variety than most of us could hope to enjoy in an entire lifetime. Everyone that knew Rachel, loved her and wanted to be around her. We are all better off by having shared a piece of our life with her, and we are so grateful to have had an opportunity to receive the happiness that she spread.